Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Romeo and Juliet

I seem to be having a mini Shakespeare fest at the moment - following on from the RSC's excellent production of The Taming of the Shrew, it was Headlong Theatre's turn to amuse me for an evening at Nottingham Playhouse.
Romeo and Juliet is one of those really well known plays that even if, like me , you've never seen it performed live, you know the plot outline, how it all ends, the main speeches from school or somewhere, you might have seen Baz Luhrman's film adaptation with Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes, or you might have seen it in rehearsal as Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter gradually changes shape into Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare In Love. There have to be difficulties in putting on such a well known piece and trying to make it new and different, yet at the same time the old well-loved play. This is the only explanation I can think of for the strange 'what if'/Sliding Doors episodes when a scene would play out then a blinding light flash on the audience and the scene re-play differently. To be honest, I just found it confusing and unnecessary.

As for the rest of the production - well, it was ok. The star-crossed lovers were a bit wishy washy and lacking in sexual tension, though I thought Catrin Stewart's "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" speech excellent. The most outstanding performances of the evening came from the two of the supporting cast playing Mercutio and Benvolio. Both were excellent particularly Mercutio's death scene.

I think I'd been a little spoiled by seeing the RSC the previous week and may have appreciated this more if I'd seen them the other way round. Still, the Teen took away some ideas for her Billy Liar GSCE performance, so not an entirely wasted evening.


  1. Wow, you really ARE into Shakespeare! I saw a very funny Midsummers Nights Dream recently at the Lyric in Hammersmith but it was hardly a serious one and cut out great chunks and added new chunks. It was fascinating to see how the play could be made to work for a modern audience, though.

    1. I think this will be it with Shakespeare for a while, though I did watch him 'in Love' at weekend.